In Brooklyn, Praise for Haitian Family Reunification Program

Brooklyn residents Gerard Paul Filche (r.)and Jean Alexandre (center) celebrated with  council member Mathieu Eugene (Photo by Matthew Taub via Brooklyn Brief)

Brooklyn residents Gerard Paul Filche (r.) and Jean Alexandre (center) celebrated with Council member Mathieu Eugene. (Photo by Matthew Taub via Brooklyn Brief)

Politicians, immigration advocates and community leaders in Brooklyn spoke out recently in favor of a new program, the Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program, which will be implemented by the Department of Homeland Security in early 2015, Matthew Taub of Brooklyn Brief reports.

The program will work to reunify Haitian families, by letting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services review and approve more quickly visa petitions made by eligible Haitian relatives of Haitian-born U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. At a press conference convened by City Council member Mathieu Eugene, several leaders endorsed the program.

“It has been nearly five years since thousands of Haitian families were torn apart by the devastation of the earthquake in Haiti,” said Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein. “The HFRP will rebuild families and I commend the federal government for hearing our many voices in support.”

“After several years of crisis in our nation’s immigration system, it’s wonderful to know that we are at the point where this parole program will be enacted,” said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. “Finally, the families who were separated from their loved ones–the parents who were separated from their children–will have the opportunity to enter the United States, be reunited with their families, and start their pursuit of the American dream.”

Community members weighed in on the significance of the program’s adoption.

“I’ve filed on behalf of my children in 2006, and I’m still waiting for a decision,” said Gerard Paul Filche, who teared up as his words were communicated to the audience through a French translator. “Through the process we’ve been going through a lot of difficulties. I support the program 100 percent, I’m so excited. If I could see my children tomorrow, I can’t even explain how it would feel to be united with them.”

Another Brooklyn resident, Jean Alexandre, recounted his struggles with the application process and advised that he is still waiting for an answer, but that he was thankful for Council Member Eugene’s efforts.

Go to Brooklyn Brief to read the history of Council member Eugene’s efforts to push for Haitian family reunification and to learn more about how the program will work in practice.

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